… an increase of 85.3 percent from 2019

Chhimi Dema  

It has been the best auction so far for cordyceps collector, said Kinzang from Lunana in Gasa. The 54-year-old is elated with the returns from the sale of cordyceps this year.

This year, he earned Nu 0.8 million (M) from his sale of, the most prized fungi, Yartsa Goenbub (Cordyceps Sinensis).

Kinzang said that the prices were better this year because the production was low compared to the past.

The fungi production in Lunana is considered to be of the best quality this year which is grown after every four years.

This year collectors sold 85.3 percent more than their entire sale in 2019. A total of 355.57kg was auctioned in 2019.

The number of buyers also increased by 11 individuals but the number of collectors decreased by 1,963 this year compared to 2019.

In 2017, 376.76kg of cordyceps was auctioned, and 346.74kg in 2018.

Due to the pandemic, the auction in 2020 and 2021 was not in all the cordyceps-producing dzongkhags.

The year also set the all-time highest record bid of cordyceps at Nu 2.85M for a kg.

The highest bid was recorded in Lunana. The lowest bid was in Dangchu, Wangdue, at Nu 0.29 M for a kg.

Yartsa Goenbub is the main source for some of the highlanders in the country.

For Kinzang, it is a source of income to support his family and give education to his children. “The fungi determine the quality of our lives.”

Residents from 15 gewogs, Kazhi, Dangchu, Gangtey, and Sephu in Wangdue; Lunana and Laya in Gasa; Chokhor and Chumey in Bumthang; Tsento, Doteng, and Soe in Paro; Naro and Lingzhi in Thimphu, and Bumdeling and Khoma in Trashiyangtse, are allowed to collect the fungi.

Records with the Department of Agricultural and Marketing Cooperatives (DAMC) showed 2,943 collection permits were issued to people of the 15 gewogs.

However, only 1,317 collectors brought their cordyceps for auction. The rest were sold through open auction.

DAMC registered 49 bidders for the auction.

The auction was held between July 11 and August 5 and saw a total of 659.07kg of cordyceps sold to the bidders. The highest was auctioned from Gasa with 142.52kg.

A total of 301.98kg of cordyceps was withdrawn from the auctions.

According to the rules and regulations for collection and harvesting cordyceps, buyers should pay 10 percent of the buying cost per kilogram as royalty.